Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Types of Soil and When to Use Each


5
Hydroponics
Hydroponic gardening, seen here in practice at Epcot theme park in Orlando, Fla., requires no soil at all.
Hydroponic gardening, seen here in practice at Epcot theme park in Orlando, Fla., requires no soil at all.
VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohn/Getty Images

Sometimes the best soil for the job is none at all. Hydroponics, or soil-less gardening, is the process of growing plants in water rather than soil. By eliminating the soil, you deliver nutrients and moisture straight to the roots of the plant. In most cases, hydroponics also reduces or eliminates problems with bugs and other garden pests, resulting in healthier plants that are often easier to grow [source: Maccini].

Many hydroponics systems require some type of medium to stabilize the roots of the plant as it grows. This medium may include sand, gravel or even rigid foam, depending on the application and the type of plant being grown. Hydroponics use can range from small homemade setups to large industrial systems used to grow food for the commercial market. These systems can be used indoors or out and are a perfect option for those who don't have the space for a traditional soil-based garden. Virtually any type of plant, fruit or vegetable can be grown hydroponically by using the right medium and appropriate blend of nutrients.


More to Explore